BP may hunker down to play a long legal game; chain store development in New Orleans

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[White] has his staff weighing textbook spending, teacher preparation programs, training programs and program grants that are not “rigorous enough to meet the level of rigor” now being expected of students and teachers. If a program doesn’t meet the higher expectations, that funding could be shifted to Course Choice.

Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold “failing” schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature “A-F” school grading system to improve the school’s marks.

Ignoring the possible political dimension of this story, a larger issue is raised: education officials are pressured to modify school grading systems that don’t  “look right.” There is blowback when traditionally high-performing schools do not receive high grades. For example, the story notes that low school scores can affect state funding and for a school as well as the homebuying market in its surrounding neighborhood.

Louisiana’s U.S. senators threatened Monday to block President Barack Obama’s next nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security until fixes are made to stall skyrocketing flood insurance rate hikes.

[Sen. David] Vitter’s amendment would make all BRICC projects [“bridges in critical corridors”] eligible for a “categorical exclusion” from the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act. That means they wouldn’t have to undergo scrutiny of their environmental and community impacts or any evaluation of alternatives.

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